reviews\ Apr 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 - PC - Review

It's such a hard thing to really make a sequel that is every bit as fun as its predecessor yet features new and exciting gameplay. Some game franchises pull this off really well; The Metal Gear series comes to mind, as do the Half Life games. But Rainbow Six Vegas already made the big leap for the franchise by driving the game more towards a straight-up action title as opposed to the previously, strategic and heavy-handed Rainbow titles. Now don't be sending me any sort of hate mail, I liked those titles and I like the direction Ubisoft has taken the Vegas franchise, but again, the advancements the first one made are much more significant than this incarnation. By all means does it make this a bad game? Well, no, but it does create some issues.

In this sequel, you again find yourself fighting faceless terrorists in "Sin City," but it doesn't really start out there. No, we are treated to a paper-thin back story/mission that takes place five years ago. And here is one of my concerns about this title. I know, most all-American gamers don't need much motivation when it comes to fighting terrorists in video games, but let's not just assume that this is going to have plenty of motivation to bring the players into the fold. Oh sure, they got weapons of mass destruction and they sure are intent on turning Las Vegas back into sand, but every storyteller will tell you, if you don't have a great villain, then the heroic deeds of the good guys seem somewhat flat. Again, terrorists make for a great villain, but the story surrounding the game just seems so, poorly developed. Take it from a guy who has played some games, this is nothing new in terms of plot or gameplay.

"Psst, Bill, is this a bad time to tell you that these boots are new and they squeek when I walk?"

Well, now that I have said my peace, let's get to the good stuff. And the good stuff is that the game, while not original, can be all sorts of fun. Running around and gunning down terrorists while moving from cover to cover and having your team move position as well can be a pretty good thing. While very similar to the previous game, and even "Gears of War" on some level, R62 is a fairly high-speed, low-drag type of game. During the single-player game there is a some nifty toys like snake cams and night vision, but you almost find yourself forcing yourself to use these items. Never in the single-player game is there a time when you must use the snake cam. Oh sure, it's kind of cool to slink it under a doorway and watch some terrorists with hostages, but not necessary if you toss a flash-bang grenade in the room and then storm it once it goes off. Sadly, terrorists are pretty much as stupid as you would think and will run the wrong way down a hallway once you start shooting at them or take cover behind an object that doesn't really provide any cover, but then just as strangely the A.I. kicks in and they become a somewhat decent fighting group. Let's just say the A.I. runs hot and cold. 

Visually the game looks pretty hot, but I couldn't help but think the game was pretty much anti-Vegas. In the first game there seemed to be much more glitz and glamour, like if anyone who didn't know what you were playing would know the game took place in Las Vegas. The sequel however, has you running in parking garages, storage areas and even a large convention center that bears a striking resemblance to a certain electronics expo. So while you will repel down the side of casino hotels, the whole feel just doesn't do Vegas justice. I know it's a great city, so lets really open it up.

"I said the RED wire!"

 Surprisingly, the game has the same background music as the first one and the same great sound effects of gunfire and explosions that the first had as well. If there is one constant in the Rainbow Six titles, is that if it shoots or explodes, chances are it's going to sound good. But the rest of the game is certainly nothing new. Sad really, a big time game studio like Ubisoft using rehashed music.

If there is a big shiny "WOW" in this game, it is the way the game now scores you when you dispatch a terrorist in different ways. Blow 'em up, pick 'em off with a sniper rifle, shoot them in the head, any way you slice them unlocks new weapons, armor and clothing. This is new to the R6 franchise and admittedly a refreshing new turn in the series. Now if only they could put this effort into coming up with new gameplay, then the R6 games would become "the" title to look for when they come out. Little improvements like the above is great, but lets do it all up and on a grand scale.

The experience does not end there either, the game allows you to play in the standard, yet surprisingly fun online matches against other players. There was some difficulty getting hooked up with a decent online team in the beginning, but things ironed themselves out after a while and I will admit to having a good time. Unlike other online games, R62 has you needing to be on a team that has cooperation in mind; this, coupled with a headset makes for a thrilling online experience as you listen to and respond to orders and out-flank an unsuspecting team. Additionally, you can play through the single-player campaign with a friend in co-op mode, which while not entirely unpleasant, is not really necessary either.

Review Scoring Details for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Gameplay: 7.9
Still, the game is a solid shooter and the controls are dialed into a level that is familar and comfortable.

Graphics: 7.5
You need to be sure your computer is tuned up, otherwise everything will come to a screeching halt. Explosions are cool, character models look really tough and the overall look of the game is a step above par. Now if they could only get the A.I. a bit more even.

Sound: 7.4
If you didn't play the first one then you won't realize the music is rehashed, sound effects really rock though.

Difficulty: Medium
One minute they are out maneuvering you, the next they are running around in little circles and panicking like little school children.

Concept: 6.0
Been there, done that.

Multiplayer: 8.0
The game's best feature, playing against other, real people is what this game is all about. God bless America!

Overall: 7.5
Nothing new here, but still a well-packaged good-looking game that happens to feature anti-terrorist forces preventing the destruction of Las Vegas


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